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Gun Control Is Not The Panacea Democrats Expect
By David A. Keene - May 2nd 2023 The old saying ‘if the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, you will begin to see every problem as a nail' is particularly true in the political world. Pollsters continually advise candidates that they need more polls; media gurus argue more radio and television ads; direct mail consultants claim the key to victory is their message in every voter's mailbox. Social media experts dismiss all of the above as antiquated and inefficient. However, few political or real-world problems are susceptible to one-size-fits-all solutions. The tendency to reach for the hammer is nowhere more apparent than in the progressive political approach to crime. Progressives are determined to define crime as a nail and their hammer is “gun control.” They have managed to persuade themselves and each other that if there were no firearms in private hands there would be no crime. If only it were so simple. Current firearms restrictions recognize that part of the problem may be susceptible to this hammer. Federal policy thus already restricts convicted felons, the potentially dangerously mentally ill and others deemed to be a threat to others, from buying or possessing firearms. While one can argue about whether these restrictions are too broad or narrow, they make logical sense. Armed robbers, gangbangers and the potentially violently mentally ill are not the sorts of people who should be running around with guns. That nail has been hammered. Still, they want to keep hammering. Preventing those who have worked their way onto what is known as the “Prohibited List” from acquiring firearms is one thing, but taking the hammer to the rights of law-abiding citizens guaranteed by the constitution is quite another. But that is what they want to do. Any excuse to find ways to restrict firearms ownership seems sensible. A few years ago, I attended a conference at which former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's acolytes suggested that anyone arrested for driving while intoxicated should lose their firearms rights for ten years. This, they insisted loudly, would reduce mass shootings. When I asked if there was any empirical evidence that mass shooters are likely to have had a drunk driving arrest on their record or that those likely to shoot up a school or shopping mall tend to come from the ranks of such drivers, they dismissed the questions as beside the point. They sincerely believed they had found another nail that needed hammering. Gun control advocates ignore the possibility that the growing violence with which we are living may stem from deeper causes than the availability of firearms. In an earlier day, high school students in rural communities often brought their rifles and shotguns to school, stored the gun in their lockers and went hunting after school. In the sixties, airlines allowed passengers to store their long guns in the overhead luggage bin while traveling. None of those students shot up their school and those passengers never hijacked planes or killed passengers. It was a different world. Of course, in those days one could ride the New York subway without risking being pushed onto the tracks by a stranger or watch a parade with no fear that someone would deliberately drive a car or truck into the crowd. And there were no “flash mobs” terrorizing retail outlets and customers, and policemen did not just look on as people they are supposed to protect were beaten. So why is today's world so different and so violent? Progressives will tell you “guns,” because gun control is the hammer they have, and they want to use it to “solve” a societal problem far more complicated than they are willing to admit.. They have convinced themselves that all problems from crime to climate change can be solved with their hammers, no further investigation needed. This myopia was on full display as Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Director Steven Dettelbach testified before the House Judiciary Committee on April 26th. Texas Republican Chip Roy asked Dettelbach how many of the 155 “mass” shooters Dettelbach was discussing were on “medication” at the time of the shootings, how many were from single parent families, and how many were heavily into social media. Dettelbach had no idea. More than a few experts have suggested that some illicit and a wide range of new prescribed medications have severe psychotic side effects that could make those using them more prone to aggression and violence. The question of whether those who take up guns against their neighbors, co-workers or fellow students are on such drugs is both relevant and important. But not to Dettelbach. In a sense, Dettelbach was correct when he responded that while Mr. Roy's questions might be worth looking into, they are not questions that ATF has a responsibility to address or to investigate. Sadly, Mr. Dettelbach has only one tool in his toolbox and it's the gun control hammer that he believes or at least hopes is the right one. Many experts believe the problem is not a nail. Taking criminals off the street and enforcing existing firearms laws work, but simply devoting time, energy and taxpayer money to pound on things that aren't nails clouds the search for real world solutions to real problems Mr. Dettelbach and his bosses in the White House need to come to the realization that they need more than a hammer in their toolboxes. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of American Liberty News.
Trump Supporters "Overthrow" the U.S. Republican Party in Rural America?
Trump Supporters "Overthrow" the U.S. Republican Party in Rural America? April 28, 2023 U.S. Presidential Election 2024 Former President Trump U.S. Republican Party of the United States: Will Trump Supporters "Overcome" in Rural Areas? Trump or anti-Trump? In local organizations of the opposition Republican Party in the U.S., supporters of Mr. Trump have been gaining strength, causing what could be called a "groundswell. Although he is the first person in history to be indicted as president, his approval rating has not declined, and his popularity has not waned. What is going on in the countryside? We covered the deepening divisions within the Republican Party. (By Kyoko Okano, International Correspondent) Trump's popularity stands out despite the first indictment in history First, I visited the annual meeting of the National Rifle Association (NRA) in Indianapolis, Indiana, in the Midwest. The NRA is a lobbying group that opposes gun control and is a strong supporter of the Republican Party. The annual meeting is also known as a forum for politicians seeking presidential elections to appeal for support. What stood out at the venue, where more than 70,000 people attended according to the organizers, were Trump supporters wearing hats and T-shirts with Trump's name on them. A long line had formed more than four hours before the speech began. When Mr. Trump appeared in the hall, everyone stood in unison. The audience was filled with loud applause and cheers, and the room was instantly filled with excitement. Mr. Trump speaking at the National Rifle Association Annual Meeting Mr. Trump. 'In my four years as President, I have already accomplished a lot, but there is still more to be done. We will take back the beautiful and wonderful White House and make America great again." Although he was the first person in history to be indicted for having served as president, Trump's approval rating has not declined since then. At the event, there were many voices in support of Mr. Trump, and his popularity showed no sign of waning. A visitor to the venue I support Mr. Trump. His ideals are almost the same as mine." 'He hasn't done as bad as many people in the White House. He will make this country a better place. Emerging forces in support of Trump: What are they really like? Trump's popularity is now causing tremors in the Republican Party's local organizations. One such area is Butler County near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It has long been a strong Republican area, and Trump won the last presidential election there. What exactly is going on here? We were able to talk to one of the key players. He is Zach Scherer, 20, who works at a local supermarket. When he was in high school, Scherer became interested in politics because of Trump. He is an ardent Trump supporter who also agrees with Trump's claims that the last presidential election was rigged. Ms. Scherer. 'I think a lot of young people have been awakened by Mr. Trump. I like that he is like a normal person. He can be a bit of a slanderer, but that's what makes me like him, because he's so young." Scherer has helped Trump's campaign. After the last presidential election, she and her colleagues conducted their own investigation into possible fraud in Butler County, and she became frustrated with the local Republican Party chapter, which seemed to be uncooperative in such activities. Mr. Scherer. "In Butler County, many people have held chapter positions for 20 or 30 years. Frankly, I think they are only in office for themselves. Now it's time for a revamp." Older chapter members have come to feel that Trump is hanging on to the "vested interests" that he criticizes, Scherer said. He ran with more than 60 others in an election last May to elect a Republican chapter committee member. As a result, those who supported Trump won a majority of the committee members, effectively putting the chapter under their control. What do old-fashioned Republicans think? Al Lindsey, an attorney who has represented the Butler County Republican chapter for 40 years. He was forced to step down last year due to the rise of Scherer and his colleagues. Al Lindsey, former president of the Butler County Republican Chapter Mr. Lindsey. 'It was a very good organization, but all of a sudden it fell apart. They are not facing reality by pandering to the masses like Trump. They believe that controlling the Republican Party is more important than winning the election over the Democrats, and they're convinced that's how they're going to win." Lindsey said that the chapter's policy has been to unite all conservatives, not just Trump supporters. She believes that Scherer and his group's move is an act that will divide conservatives, and she feels threatened. The conclusion they came to was to start a new organization. To counter the "takeover" of the chapter by Trump supporters, they want to increase the number of people who agree with their views and become mainstream again. Lindsey. “They will never be convinced about us. So how can we unite the party? It would be nice if our side could get more votes. We have to take it back again." What lies ahead for the "underdogs"... Scherer became a mainstream member of the Butler County Republican Party. However, he has since been unable to unite as a chapter due to a struggle for control within the mainstream, which has left him feeling confused. Mr. Scherer. I thought I was doing a good thing, but all it did was cause internal strife, and all kinds of people wanted to be leaders. Nothing was getting done." I local branches of the Republican Party, as in Butler County, Trump-backed forces are now beginning to oust moderate members in many places. Will these developments weaken the Republican Party and benefit Democrats in the run-up to next year's presidential election? Or will it further strengthen Trump's presence in the Republican Party and, conversely, strengthen the unity of the party? We will continue to cover the "changes" in the Republican Party that are taking place in the regions.
Sometimes A Good Guy With A Gun Is The Answer
By David A. Keene April 10, 2023 Last week, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee asked his state legislature to provide armed protection for her public and private schools. Tennessee's United States Senators, Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty simultaneously urged Congress to provide the same protection nationwide in response to the murder of six students and staff last month at an unprotected Nashville school. Conversely, others, including President Biden and his Vice President, blamed the tragedy not on the shooter but on conservatives, the lack of universal background checks, red flag laws and an assault weapons ban. Governor Lee knew from reports streaming into his office that the shootings could have been prevented with school protection. On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza passed up two Newtown, Connecticut, schools because their campuses were protected by armed security officers. Lanza killed twenty students and six teachers that day at the unprotected Sandy Hook Elementary School. He was not looking to do battle; he just wanted to kill. This March 27, Aiden Hale passed up two schools he had initially targeted because his “risk assessment” revealed “security was too great” at those schools. He wasn't looking to do battle either; like Lanza, Hale just wanted to find a killing ground. And in the unprotected Covenant School, he did. The debate over armed security for schools became a partisan and ideological battle following the Sandy Hook tragedy. Those with an almost pathological hatred of firearms opposed measures that most Americans believed made sense. As President of the National Rifle Association back then, I was touring one of several firearms training facilities Israel established to train private security personnel to protect her schools. Some saw the Sandy Hook tragedy as another excuse to demand more gun control. NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, however, was determined to help find ways to thwart future mass shooters looking to turn school grounds into killing grounds. LaPierre announced at a press conference that Asa Hutchinson, a former U.S. Attorney, Member of Congress and head of the Drug Enforcement Agency had agreed to assemble an NRA sponsored team of professionals to develop a program of best practices to enhance school security. LaPierre said society has an obligation to provide our children with at least as much protection as banks, celebrities, jewelry stores, the media and politicians. The gun control community went berserk. The Obama White House characterized the suggestion that we provide schools with armed protection as “insane” — until someone realized that the federal and state governments had actually begun to do just that during the Clinton administration by providing many urban schools “school resource officers.” The Clinton-era program was limited to urban schools but increased funds to police departments willing to assign officers to school security duty. Many departments signed up, took the money but never gave the program much priority and assigned officers near retirement or with little training to the task. Still, the result was that would-be killers largely avoided schools with security in their search for victims. As inadequate and underfunded as the program may have been, we will never know how many lives were saved. Expanding such a program never seems to have occurred to the Obama White House. Years before, Israeli schools had been prime terrorist targets and the government responded by sending the military. That caused more problems than it solved because the military's mission was so different from the need. Israel then turned to the police with limited success, but that didn't work very well either. Finally, the schools began to employ privately trained security guards, men and women dedicated and trained to provide school security. Today most Israeli school budgets include a line item to hire and train security personnel at facilities like the one I toured in Tel Aviv. Hutchinson and his team began by cataloguing steps individual schools and school districts around the country were taking to deter the kind of attack that took place at Sandy Hook. They discovered many approaches. Some schools had armed their teachers while others had one or two teachers, administrators or staffers who were trained and let it be known that on any given day one of them was armed. They never said who that might be but felt that if everyone knew someone was armed it would be a deterrent. Hiring full time security is expensive and few American school administrators gave security the priority of their Israeli counterparts, so they were creative. Some relied on volunteers; retired police officers or veterans who took it upon themselves to acquire training. Others were even more inventive. My favorite town provided a visible police presence by allowing policemen to be in the school when filling out the reports that chew up an inordinate amount of time. Fewer police working at desks at headquarters or precinct houses provided school security at little or no cost! After nearly a year of research and testing, Hutchinson's team developed a plan that played on the NRA's strengths to enhance school security. The “School Shield Program provides training to those who provide assessments of a school's needs. Assessments become the critical first step, determining a school's vulnerabilities and allowing administrators to develop a plan to enhance security. At the time such assessments could cost ten thousand dollars or more per school. One of the NRA's strengths is in training, so we began to provide training for those who do these assessments. The way it works is simple enough. A team of professionals invite men and women interested in providing free assessments to schools within their area to a training session so they could go out and do the assessments themselves. Most have been law enforcement officers and School Resource Officers who go on to provide assessments as volunteers. Critics believed that the NRA volunteers would simply recommend arming everyone in sight, but while the need for armed security is one option, it isn't the only choice. There would be no need to assess a school's security needs if there was a “one size fits all” solution that would work everywhere. Properly locked doors, controlled access, fast communication, lighting … or strategically placed cameras can all be useful under the right circumstances and are often recommended in addition to or instead of firearms protection. An effective assessment provides school administrators with a smorgasbord of recommendations so they can pick and choose what they can afford or what provides their facility with the level of security they deem sufficient. The NRA Foundation runs a grant program to help schools to acquire what they might need. School Shield began smoothly and is still operating, but the very idea of providing security to the nation's schools came under another round of fire from the Left in the Defund the Police Movement. Many liberal urban and suburban school boards demanded that school resource officers be sent packing and that talk of anything like armed protection was off limits, even while aspiring to continue to look for and find defenseless victims. In recent years, however, a few public officials have begun to realize that armed protection may be a better option than ranting about guns, troubled shooters and various unrelated evils. Tennessee is a practical state, the police in Nashville reacted quickly to take down the shooter, and the realization dawned that the NRA may have had a point when LaPierre suggested after Sandy Hook a decade ago that sometimes the best defense against a “bad guy” with a gun is “a good guy with a gun.” and the media still don't get it, but Texas Congressman Dan Crenshaw does. Crenshaw spoke clearly in a recent CNN interview, suggesting that Congress place two armed security guards in each school as “a preventative measure.” CNN's Dana Bash was appalled and asked, “So the answer is more guns?” Crenshaw didn't hesitate, “The answer is armed guards. … Yes, more guns – the kind of guns that protect the President, that protect you all at CNN.” Those killed by mass school shooters since Sandy Hook have been silenced but could be alive today had political leaders acted with knowledge and reason as Tennessee's governor and senators are today. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of American Liberty News.
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